Earlier, the discussion on karma turned to gaining understanding how terrorists could deprive innocent people of their lives. Now, let us to take a bit more time with our dual reasoning in gaining understanding of karma. It is extremely important that we never use karma as a weapon against someone when we should exhibit compassion. The opportunity to exhibit our capacity and skill in compassion should further crack open our hardened hearts out of concern for the suffering family members of, for example, victims of terrorist attacks, as well as the victims themselves, for their life stolen from them.
In addition, but as a separate issue that is unconnected to the victim/criminal dynamic, we learn to have compassion for the perpetrators. This is because it is likely that they themselves will have to endure a similar event because of harming others, either in this life or in a future life. It is really so sad that a situation got to the point where the perpetrator felt the only choice they had was to kill. In spite of our compassion, it is our responsibility, by creating laws as well as having personal courage to try to stop them. We hold compassion space that understands suffering has occurred, a kind of sadness. Naturally, we have compassion for all those involved in bad situations, but there must be a greater compassion for the victims and the vulnerable.
Now, we can revisit and stimulate our own emerging accountability for our actions from now on based on Buddhist principles. It is not possible to experience any karmic event without the emerging of inner causes mixing with outer conditions. When we meditate on this deeply, a transformative authentic realization changes the way we reason and respond to stimuli. This is a powerful insight giving us a handle on how to behave. In fact, it is the only way to understand how life works so that our future aligns itself in the direction we wish. Individually or in a group, you cannot experience any event, whether positive or negative, for which you have not accumulated the causes and conditions. Therefore, we must accumulate both good causes internally by changing and transformation, and seek better conditions to support what we need. We need to create opposing positive karma to counteract any negative karma lurking and waiting for fruition.
For example, let us say there is an airplane accident, a fiery crash on the runway, and like a miracle, somebody walks out of the flames, not burnt or harmed. This person had the causes and conditions gathered to experience the crash, however his opposite karma was so strong that he or she survived. These genuine miracles are due to not having every cause and condition arrive at the same time to perish in the accident.
While meditating on the nature of karma, we might remember a particular personal event and examine how the causes and conditions systematically came together to produce an event. Rita called me on the telephone. We decided to go out to eat together. I finished a task while she waited in the car, then Robert called as I was about to depart, we finally left for the restaurant and boom, a car hit us. You could say, if I had decided to cook at home, if Robert had not called me, if each activity, plus my own desire to eat dinner out did not all come together in perfect synchronous order, it would have been impossible to experience that fender bender.
There are those who complain that they do not have a good career, yet chose to quit college. Some even had parents who paid their living expenses and paid for their school, but still they would not go to classes. Because they did not study, they could not get good grades. Failing to graduate gave them little chance for a good job and so they suffer from a lack of money.
By our conscious choices and beyond our karmic potential, we can create either a gorgeous or a very stinky flower arrangement of life’s possibilities to work with. I read about a huge plant with a single flower about four feet across, called the corpse plant. Some say the smell is so bad; it smells as if an animal died. I hope you have not gathered a big old stinky bouquet of corpse flowers! Let us think that instead, we might skip across a field gathering buttercups and placing them in pure water, perhaps French or Fiji water, and that is the arrangement of our karma. It almost makes you weep; it is so beautiful to work with such karmic luck and determination.
Our superficial as well as deep nature can transform with effort, changing the perceptual filters we use to observe the world. Now we understand that karma is not only the experience of the results of causes and circumstances, such as events, it is also what we are producing. For instance, we are experiencing eating an ice cream cone. At that moment, we are having an experience of neutral karma, like walking, or some other mindless or unintentional action. However, even what we do without either positive or negative motivation, also creates karma, and we can create another, more forceful karma by how we react to neutral karma. For example, "I really love this ice cream cone. I am just thrilled,” creates a different kind of karma that happily enough, just might bring you more ice cream in the future.
Because we create karma continuously, practicing mindfulness is extremely important. Mindfulness, or awareness of our actions, creates the environment that we experience our world in the best way possible, which is satisfaction. We need certain levels of satisfaction and comfort to make life easy enough to experience our personal outer world with inner awareness. It is like experiencing the world from a soft air mattress rather than a rocky road. We feel that difference by satisfaction and not by suffering so that we can concentrate on activities that are more important.
A virtuous mind continuously experiences life with good karma and honorable satisfaction. For that person, life is a virtuous stream of healthy energy. That energy attracts and encourages virtuous conduct, as well as attracting others who are virtuous. This is only a tiny portion of the benefits of creating a virtuous mind. Every wonderful thing happens to those who posses a mind of high merit, good qualities and virtue! To be continued….